Kevin and Cherie Daniels of the contemporary gospel duo Touched Ministry say their hearts are on touching the lives of others.
Words by Terrell Manasco | Images by Al Blanton
Inside the glass booth of a recording studio, a tall, slender man in a maroon Hawaiian shirt and khaki shorts whirls in his chair, adjusting the vocal tracks on the computer. With his curly blonde locks shimmering under the studio lights, Kevin Daniels chats about his life as a singer, songwriter, musician, and gospel music artist, tossing jokes like confetti as his nimble fingers tap dance across the controls.
Originally from the St. Louis area, Kevin was singing in front of audiences at four years old. While studying music ministry at Central Bible College in Missouri, he performed solo gospel concerts in various churches.
Kevin met his wife, Cherie (pronounced “Sherry”), through a mutual friend in 1989. He was teaching voice at the time, and Cherie needed pointers for a singing contest. Within a few years, they were married. In 1994, they began making music together as Touched Ministry.
In the spring of 2000, the Daniels moved to a small California town called Apple Valley, in the high desert region near San Bernardino. Their neighbor across the street, a man named Dusty, was Roy Rogers’ grandson. There, the Daniels’ gospel music career began to flourish. They recorded albums. They sang on TV. Life was good.
Then the desert stole Kevin’s voice. “My voice would not adapt to the dry desert climate, with the dry and the wind all the time,” he says. “We were getting some television airplay on TBN out there and I couldn’t sing. I sounded like I had walking laryngitis.”
After more than 140 shots for allergies, Kevin was desperate. Doctors told him he had one option—move. In 2003, the Daniels packed their bags and headed for the Sunshine State. “We moved to Florida and my voice came back almost immediately,” Kevin says. “It was a year or two before I was back to normal. We ended up moving here (Alabama) in 2017 and bringing my elderly parents because I had another sibling here.”
Touched Ministry’s music is primarily contemporary gospel, and Kevin and Cherie write their own songs. Kevin has been a published songwriter since 1984 and has written commercial radio jingles for various businesses. He plays guitar, bass, and piano, and has been a session musician for other artists. “I’ve played bass on more sessions than I even know,” he says.
On most days, the Daniels are usually in their basement studio, working on songs or recording gospel or secular music for other artists. They still enjoy touring (“I’ve changed in more bathrooms than Superman has telephone booths,” Kevin jokes) but booking engagements have tapered off a bit in the last couple of years. “When we first moved to California, we were getting booked within 60 days,” Kevin says. “Here, it’s been slow because no one knows who we are.”
Clayton Mehearg, an amateur songwriter who works for Jasper Decorating Center, befriended the couple not long after they moved to Jasper. That burgeoning friendship soon began paying dividends for both sides. “Clayton started bringing songs to me and I told him we needed someone to do our booking around here,” Kevin says. “Clayton’s lived here since dirt, apparently. He’s been reaching out to people and getting our CD out. (Touched Ministry’s newest CD, He Set Me Free, is now available on Amazon.com and Spotify.)
Gospel music has evolved over the last several decades. Southern gospel, still fairly popular in this area, has declined as contemporary gospel has gained more followers. Cherie says what has really changed is that churches are now holding fewer services. “When we first started, we worked all the time,” she says. “Churches had Sunday morning service, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and they had revivals. We were working all the time, usually every weekend.”
Regardless of a church’s size or the number of services per week, Kevin says they are in this for the ministry, not the money. “We’ve had some of our best services in places that were well under 100 people,” he says. “We want to be ministering. Our hearts are on ministry, not to get rich on doing gospel music.” 78
For bookings, contact Clayton Mehearg at 205-522-0956